Collaborative family law is a process whereby the parties, their lawyers, and other professionals who are part of their collaborative team, agree to work together to create agreements that resolve the issues arising out of the parties’ separation. It is unique in that the parties agree, formally, in advance, that for so long as they are working within the collaborative process, no one will go to court, or use threats of court, and that what transpires within the collaborative process will not be “used” in court should the process break down.
The parties work to create solutions that address the values and goals of both parties and their children. Issues can include guardianship, parenting, child support, spousal support, and family property and debt. Each spouse will retain a collaborative family lawyer to negotiate the terms of a settlement and each may also choose to enlist the expertise of collaborative professionals, such as financial advisors, psychologists, counselors, and child specialists to complement their particular needs in attaining a resolution. The objective is to gather the resources and information necessary for the parties to reach an efficient, fair and comprehensive settlement of all issues.
Collaborative family law has proven to be a very effective process for many people.
It is important to keep in mind that if the collaborative process does break down, it is almost always necessary for each of the parties to discharge their collaborative family lawyer and retain new counsel, and that the agreement to keep the collaborative process confidential
normally survives the breakdown of the process.